Debit Cards in the U.S. of June 2024

Debit cards
Apply for a Debit Card. On 20.06.2024 you have access to 6 credit cards. Increase your chances of getting money — fill out a multi-application with a free credit rating check.
Offers: 6
Updated:
27.02.2023
15:33
Mission Lane
Mission Money Visa™ Debit Card
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Chime
Chime 
Debit Card
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Amscot
Azulos Prepaid MasterCard®
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Bnine
B9 Visa® Debit Card
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Debit Cards in the U.S. of June 2024

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card is a payment card deducting money directly from a consumer checking account to pay for a purchase. Debit cards look like credit cards and can be used in most places where credit cards are accepted. However, the key difference is that a debit card transfers the money directly from the user checking account. With a credit card, the user is borrowing money from the credit card issuer and will be charged interest if they do not pay the balance each month.

Many banks issue debit cards to their customers when they open a checking account. Some banks offer prepaid debit cards, which work similarly to traditional debit cards but can be loaded with a set amount of money. Debit cards are a convenient and secure way to make purchases without carrying cash, and they are accepted at millions of locations worldwide, including online, in stores, and at ATMs.

The benefit of using a debit card is that it helps consumers manage their finances by only allowing them to spend the money they have in their checking account rather than incurring debt as with a credit card. Debit cards are a good alternative for people who do not qualify for a credit card or who do not want to incur credit card debt.

Many banks offer rewards programs for debit card users, such as cash back or discounts on purchases. Debit cards also offer added security features, such as fraud protection and dispute resolution, which can protect the user from unauthorized transactions or mistakes.

Types of Debit Cards

A debit card is linked to an individual's checking bank account. The main types of debit cards are the following:

  • Traditional debit cards. These are the most common type of debit cards. They are issued by banks and credit unions. These cards can be used to make purchases at retailers that accept the card, and funds are automatically deducted from the individual's checking account.
  • Prepaid debit cards. These are a type of debit card that is loaded with funds by the individual. The individual can use the card to make purchases, but only up to the amount that has been loaded onto the card. Prepaid debit cards are a popular alternative to traditional checking accounts, especially for individuals who do not qualify for a traditional checking account due to credit or other issues.
  • Secured credit cards. These are a type of debit card that is linked to savings account. The individual must first deposit funds into the savings account, and then the card can be used to make purchases. The individual can also use the card to build or rebuild their credit history.

Traditional debit cards offer the convenience of making purchases and accessing cash at ATMs, but they are not protected against unauthorized charges, as credit cards are. Prepaid debit cards are not linked to an individual's checking account, so they are a safer option, but they also may have fewer features and a higher monthly fee than traditional debit cards. Secured credit cards can help individuals build or rebuild their credit, but they may also come with high fees and lower credit limits.

Pros and Cons of Debit Cards

Pros

  • Convenience. Debit cards are accepted at most merchants and allow users to make purchases, withdraw cash, and pay bills. They are easy to use and eliminate the need for carrying cash or writing checks.
  • Improved budgeting. Debit cards provide a clear record of all transactions, making it easier for individuals to keep track of their spending and budget their finances.
  • Security. Debit cards are equipped with advanced security features, such as fraud detection and protection, making them a safer option than carrying cash.
  • No credit checks. Unlike credit cards, debit cards do not require a credit check.
  • Rewards. Some debit card issuers offer rewards programs that allow individuals to earn points, cash back, or other incentives for using their card.

Cons

  • Limited protection. While debit cards offer some protection against fraud, they are not as secure as credit cards. Debit card fraud can result in a loss of funds and can take longer to recover.
  • Overdraft fees. If you do not have enough funds in your account, a debit card purchase can result in an overdraft fee. This can be particularly frustrating if you are unaware of the fee until it is too late.
  • ATM fees. Using an out-of-network ATM can cause a fee for the use of the machine, as well as a fee from your bank or card issuer.
  • Daily spending limits. Some debit cards may have daily spending limits, making it difficult to make large purchases.
  • No interest. Debit cards do not offer interest on the funds you have in your account, unlike credit cards.

How to Compare Debit Cards

Debit cards are a convenient alternative to cash and checks and are widely accepted in the United States. They allow you to access funds in your bank account to make purchases, withdraw cash from ATMs, and pay bills. To compare debit cards, you need to consider several factors, such as fees, interest rates, rewards programs, and security features.

  • Debit cards may come with various fees, such as monthly maintenance fees, ATM usage fees, overdraft fees, and international transaction fees. Compare these fees between different debit cards to choose one that suits your needs. Some banks offer debit cards with no monthly maintenance fees, so it's worth checking for these options.
  • Debit cards do not offer interest rates like credit cards, but some banks offer overdraft protection services that come with an interest rate. It is important to compare the interest rates offered by different banks and choose one that is reasonable.
  • Many banks offer rewards programs for their debit cards, including cashback, points, and discounts. Compare these rewards programs between different debit cards and choose one that offers the best benefits.
  • Debit cards come with various security features to protect you against fraud. Assess the security features of different debit cards to ensure that you are protected. Some of these features include secure chip technology, fraud monitoring, and fraud protection guarantees.
  • It is also important to consider the accessibility of debit card. Some debit cards come with extensive ATM networks, while others may limit your access to ATMs. Choose a debit card with an ATM network that suits your needs.

Consider these factors when comparing debit cards. You can also do some research online to compare the features and benefits offered by different debit cards and choose one that is right for you. By taking the time to compare debit cards, you can choose one that meets your needs and helps you manage your money more efficiently.

How to Apply for a Debit Card

To apply for a debit card, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a bank or credit union. Research different financial institutions to determine which one offers the services you need and meets your financial needs. Consider factors such as location, fees, customer service, and interest rates on checking accounts.
  2. Open a checking account. To get a debit card, you'll need to have a checking account. Most banks and credit unions require a minimum direct deposit to open a checking account. You'll also need to provide personal information, such as your name, address, Social Security number, and government-issued ID.
  3. Request a debit card. After you open a checking account, you can request a debit card from your bank or credit union. They may offer a debit card automatically with your account, or you may need to ask for one specifically.
  4. Activate your card. Once you receive your debit card, you'll need to activate it. This can typically be done online or over the phone.
  5. Start using your debit card. Once you activate the card, you can start using it right away. You can make purchases by swiping or inserting your card into a card reader and entering your PIN. You can use your debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Besides these steps, be mindful of fees associated with your debit card and checking account, such as monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees. Consider signing up for overdraft protection, which can help you avoid costly overdraft fees.

The Best Debit Cards

Some popular and highly-rated debit cards include:

Capital One 360 Debit Card

The Capital One 360 Debit Card is a fee-free debit card that offers a range of benefits and features to help cardholders manage their money and get the most out of their purchases. One of the standout features of this card is its fee-free structure - cardholders won't be charged any monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, or foreign transaction fees. It is a great option for those who are looking to avoid fees and save money.

Another benefit of the Capital One 360 Debit Card is its cash back rewards program. Cardholders can earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase they make, which can add up over time and help offset the cost of their purchases. Rewards are credited to the cardholder's account each month and can be redeemed for cash or statement credits at any time.

In addition to its rewards program, the Capital One 360 Debit Card also offers a range of benefits to help cardholders stay secure and manage their money. For example, it includes Zero Liability Protection, which means cardholders won't be held responsible for unauthorized purchases made with their card. Additionally, the card offers overdraft protection, which can help prevent overdraft fees by transferring funds from a linked Capital One 360 savings account to cover a purchase.

One of the standout features of the Capital One 360 Debit Card is its integration with Capital One 360's online banking platform. Cardholders can easily view their debit card transactions, track their spending, and manage their account online or through the mobile app. They can also use the app to deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer funds between accounts.

Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Cashback Debit is a fee-free debit card that allows cardholders to earn cash back on their everyday purchases. One of the key benefits of this card is that there are no fees. Cardholders won't be charged monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, or foreign transaction fees. This makes it a useful option for those looking to avoid fees and save money.

Discover Cashback Debit has a cash back rewards program. Cardholders can earn unlimited 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in total purchases each month. This can add up over time and help offset the cost of their purchases. Rewards are credited to the cardholder's account each month and can be redeemed for cash or statement credits at any time.

Discover Cashback Debit offers a range of benefits to help cardholders stay secure and manage their money. It includes Zero Liability Protection, which means cardholders won't be held responsible for unauthorized purchases made with their card. The card has overdraft protection to prevent overdraft fees by transferring funds from a linked Discover savings account to cover a purchase.

One of the standout features of Discover Cashback Debit is its integration with Discover's online banking platform. Cardholders can easily view their transactions, track their spending, and manage their account online or through the mobile app. They can also use the app to deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer funds between accounts.

USAA Military Affiliate Debit Card

The USAA Military Affiliate Debit Card is a debit card specifically designed for military members, veterans, and their families. It offers a range of benefits and features for those who serve and their families.

One of the key benefits of the USAA Military Affiliate Debit Card is its fee-free structure. Cardholders won't be charged monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, or foreign transaction fees. This makes it a great option for military members who may be deployed overseas and need a way to access their funds without incurring additional fees.

USAA Military Affiliate Debit Card has a cash back rewards program. Cardholders can earn unlimited 1% cash back on their purchases, which can add up over time and help offset the cost of their purchases. Rewards are credited to the cardholder's account each month and can be redeemed for cash or statement credits at any time.

Besides its rewards program, the USAA Military Affiliate Debit Card also offers a range of benefits to help cardholders stay secure and manage their money. Zero Liability Protection allows cardholders to avoid being responsible for unauthorized purchases made with their card. The card offers overdraft protection to prevent overdraft fees by transferring funds from a linked USAA savings account to cover a purchase.

Cardholders can easily view their transactions with USAA's online banking platform, track their spending, and manage their account online or through the mobile app.

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking Debit Card

Alliant Credit Union's High-Rate Checking Debit Card is a type of account that offers several benefits and features. However, there are some terms and conditions that come with using this Visa debit card.

First and foremost, you must have a High-Rate Checking account with Alliant Credit Union to be eligible for these Visa debit cards. This card can be used to make debit card purchases and withdraw cash at ATMs, but keep in mind that there may be fees associated with certain transactions, such as foreign ATM usage or overdrafts.

Be mindful of the account's spending limit, as well as any restrictions or prohibited purchases. The card may also come with fraud protection, but it's important to understand the terms of this coverage and what you may be responsible for in the event of unauthorized use.

As the account holder, it's your responsibility to keep track of your spending and account balance. This includes regularly checking your account online or through the credit union's mobile app and reporting any unauthorized transactions immediately.

You should also be aware of any changes to the terms and conditions of the account, as they may be updated from time to time. If you have questions about your debit card, it's best to contact Alliant Credit Union directly for assistance.

FAQ

What is a debit card?

A debit card is a payment card that is linked to an individual's checking account and can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs, make purchases at merchants that accept debit cards, and pay bills online. When making a purchase, the amount is automatically deducted from the cardholder's checking account. Debit cards typically have a Visa or Mastercard logo and can be issued by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

What is the best debit card?

The best debit card depends on the individual's financial needs and spending habits. Some popular options include those offered by major banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, as well as debit cards from online-only banks like Ally and Capital One 360. Compare the fees, rewards, and other features of different debit cards before selecting one. Some key factors to consider include no or low monthly fees, the high interest rate on checking account balance, cashback rewards, and access to a large network of ATMs.

What are the three types of debit cards?

There are three main types of debit cards signature debit cards, PIN debit cards, and prepaid debit cards. Signature debit cards are processed through the credit card network and require the cardholder to sign for transactions, while PIN debit cards require the cardholder to enter a personal identification number for transactions. A prepaid debit card is loaded with a fixed amount of funds and can be used for purchases and cash withdrawals, but it does not have access to overdraft protection or checking account features.

Is a debit card better than a credit card?

Whether a debit card or credit card is better depends on the individual's financial situation and spending habits. Debit cards offer direct access to funds in a checking account, making it a good option for individuals who need to closely monitor their spending and want to avoid debt. Credit cards, on the other hand, provide access to credit that can be used for purchases or emergencies and often offer rewards and benefits, making them a good option for individuals who can responsibly manage their credit and pay their balances in full each month.